Philip L. Leggett, MD
Houstonlaparoscopic surgery

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When problems persist in a person's upper gastrointestinal region, gastroscopy is the appropriate diagnostic tool. Like a colonoscopy, it renders visual information that is extraordinarily better than an x-ray, especially in detection of inflammation, ulcers and tumors.

Using an endoscope-a length of tubing tipped with a small video camera and light source-the physician can scan the linings of the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum.

Gastroscopies are employed to judge symptoms of persistent abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract and difficulty swallowing. It is very useful in discovering cancer in its early stages, and it can identify malignant and benign tumors by taking biopsies of the growths. It is adept at removing polyps, as well. It is done under sedation in a specialized endoscopy suite; patients can go home after the procedure.